Monday Tips & News: Organization Tools – Part 1 (Web & Software)

Sarah Writes Stories: Organization Tools - Web & SoftwareIt’s hard to believe that in approximately two months, I’ll be tasked with the responsibility of taking care of another tiny human being.  As you can imagine, the big thing on my mind currently is how I’m going to stay organized — which I’m hoping will help me stay sane.  Or sane-ish.  Let’s set some realistic expectations here.

I’ve always been one to pile on the tasks to somewhat crazy levels, but throwing a kid into the mix is going to require a new level of organizational kung-fu.  Here are some of the tools I currently use to stay organized.


Google Drive: This is where I keep any document that I access on a daily or near-daily basis, as well as documents that I want to be able to access from anywhere at any time without worrying about what software I have installed on any given computer.  My workload/project trackers, my holiday/birthday gift lists, event guest lists — they all live on Google Drive.

Dropbox: In addition to my automatic back-up software (I use Carbonite), Dropbox is where I keep back-ups of all important software-specific documents.  My Scrivener docs get saved & backed up there as well as my screenplays and any document that requires me to use Microsoft Word.  It’s also a fantastic way to share files that are too large for email with both family and clients (separate folders, of course!).  Best of all, it’s free up to sign up.  You get 2 GB to start with, and you can earn up to 18 GB by referrals (if you use the link above, you’ll be helping me out!) or other easy tasks.  They also have very affordable paid plans, but I’m not anywhere near needing more space yet.

Pinterest: I use Pinterest for typical things like recipes, decorating and crafting ideas, but I also use it to clip informative articles from around the Web.  I clip articles I want to share with my SWS readers as well as items that inform how I run my own business (and that I want to be able to refer back to).  With the introduction of secret boards, it’s an even greater and more flexible tool.  I use one of my secret boards for weekly meal planning (I just repin the recipes I plan to make for the week onto that board so I can find them quickly) and another one for gift ideas.

Amazon Prime: One of the ways I save time is by ordering just about anything I can online.  And ordering at Amazon usually saves me quite a bit of money, too.  (There is no shame in ordering toilet paper from Amazon, folks. None at all.)  Dropping $75 a year for Prime isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a high-volume user like I am, it’s definitely worth considering.  In addition to free two-day shipping and $3.99 one-day shipping, you get access to their online movie/TV library (not as good as Netflix, but still nice to have around) as well as benefits for Kindle users.


Scrivener: I was first introduced to Scrivener as a NaNoWriMo participant, but I’ve since started using it for most of my initial word processing.  It’s a great organizational tool for drafts of blog posts, promotional emails, web copy and more.  It’s also a fantastic writing tool for books of all sorts, whether it’s an ebook for your business or that novel you’ve been chipping away at for months (or years).

 iPhoto: I honestly don’t know how I organized photos before I bought my first Mac. With its tagging features and search capabilities, it’s one of the most user-friendly storage systems I’ve come across.  It’s certainly better than the elaborate folder structure I was using pre-iPhoto.  And now with PhotoStream, the photos I take with my iPhone go straight to my computer without me having to do any work at all.  I typically organize by month and/or special event, but it’s completely customizable to whatever works for you.

iPhoto Organization Snapshot

A snapshot of my 2012 in iPhoto.

Evernote: If I can’t pin it, I clip it into Evernote.  And sometimes I do both, just for the heck of it.  Evernote also lets you store entire documents, access them across computers, online or on your phone.  I use it to store home-related documents, family recipes, to-do lists and project information.  And I know I’ve only scratched the surface of its usefulness.  Evernote’s blog is also chock-full of great information about how business owners and hobbyists alike use it in new and creative ways.

What Do You Recommend?

That about covers it for me on the web/software front.  Is there anything awesome out there I’ve overlooked?  I’d love to hear your recommendations.  Next week, I’ll tell you about the mobile apps and hardware I use to keep my life running relatively smoothly.



One comment

  1. Pingback: Case Study: How Scrivener Turned a Potential Snafu Into a Customer Service Showcase | Sarah Writes Stories

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